Monday, July 18, 2011

Spanish Eggs from the Sonoma Diet

This is one of my favorite Saturday morning recipes for tender and delicious eggs.

My husband really enjoys these and every once in a while I get them in the pan before my daughter requests Daddy's soul food: bagels.

They are very rich in a simple flavor.

Printable recipe
1 yellow pepper, cut into thin bite-sized strips
1 fresh jalapeno chile pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
4 eggs
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

1) In a large skillet cook bell pepper, jalapeno pepper, and garlic in hot oil about 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in tomates, chili powder, cumin, and the 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bring to boiling: reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
2) Break one of the eggs into a measuring cup. Carefully slide the egg into simmering tomato mixture. Repeat with remaining eggs. Sprinkle eggs lightly with aditional kosher slat and black peper.
3) Cook, covered, over medium-low heat for 4 to 5 minues or until whites are completely set and yolks begin to thicken but are not firm.
4) To serve, transfer eggs to serving plates with a slotted spoon. Stir tomato mixture; spoon around eggs on plates. Sprinkle with toasted almonds.

When you cut the jalapenos, wash your hands with soap and for heaven's sake, don't touch your eyes!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The French Macaron

This is where I plan to spend some time in the next few days.

Have you tried to make The French Macaron?

My friend Marjorie and I think the salted caramel version is worth a try.

But, I'll start with chocolat. (Begin at the beginning.)

My friend Janice is living in Paris right now, dining on all things French and American and shares her opinion about the Macaron at Laduree in Paris.

Here's an article on the 10 essential tips for perfect Macaroons.
Really? 10? 

And next weekend, there's a big Macaron tasting event at a fancy mall nearby. Move over le cupcake! 

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Bechamel -- In Honor of Bastille Day

We should be dining of the delicious foods of France tonight, but I had a left-over steak salad from Chipotle and a slice of rare Filet Mignon waiting for me. Neither a Croque Monsieur or Croque Madam could keep me from that deliciousness. So, with nothing to show for the day, I offer:

A Bechamel Recipe
Printable Recipe

1 cup milk, scalded with a slice of onion, a bay leaf, a pinch of nutmeg, a couple of cloves, salt & pepper
Set aside so the flavors can mingle for 10-15 minutes
Make a roux of 1 1/2 Tablespoons of flour and 1 1/2 Tablespoons melted butter (heat until foaming)

When milk mixture is slightly cool, strain in the milk mixture and simmer, whisking for about 5 minutes.
For a thinner sauce, use 1 Tablespoon each flour and butter.

Use it in Macaroni & Cheese or any one of hundreds of uses for White Sauce. Or add parmesan and and a little tomato flesh for a nice pasta sauce.

And a bonus: my favorite Pate Sucre recipe (sweet tart dough - print it!).

And Viva la France!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Meals

We're a few weeks into our CSA season here and the beautiful greens are taking center stage.  It's taken me a bit to get back on track with meal planning but I am getting back into the summer groove.  Looking back through the archives of taste a little summer has helped quite a bit.  Here's the plan for this week.

Saturday: Green pasta with homemade pesto and salad
Sunday: Stir-fried veggies, noodles, and spicy green beans
Monday:  Dinner with friends (my contribution: radishes with Hawaiian red salt, homemade lemon-blueberry frozen yogurt, and lemon-thyme shortbread)
Tuesday: BBQ tofu with kale chips and fennel crisps
Wednesday: Homemade pizza and salad
Thursday: Grilled chicken and salad with kefir "ranch" dressing
Friday:  Leftovers

What are you cooking this week?
What have you been seeing in your CSA box?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Angelcots, glorious Angelcots

Last weekend I fell in love.

These beautiful, whiter fleshed apricots are called Angelcots. They'll be in your Trader Joe's or Ralph's markets very soon. We have Frieda's Specialty Produce to thank for bringing them from the world of farmers markets to selected grocers. (Just like the little kiwi, years ago.) They are magnificent.

These darlings are called Angelcots for a reason. They really are the angels of the apricot world. You know how many times you've encountered the fragrance of a ripening apricot only to find the flesh a bit flat or tart or worse, mealy? Well, not these delights. They are, somehow, sweet with a hint of tartness, almost buttery in consistency. And slightly reminiscent of the pear.

Frankly, if you like apricots, you should just buy a box and eat them as they are, as soon as they ripen (at room temperature). Here are a few ways I'll be enjoying them:
  • sliced and chilled
  • sliced in beverage
  • chopped in salad (with feta)
  • as dessert, halved and carefully peeled, with Marscapone cheese - maybe sweetened only a bit
  • with fresh, fresh blueberries
  • out of the bowl  - as God clearly intended
After I tasted them, my first thought was a simple tart. I wanted to poach them briefly -  a minute or so, (against all my instincts) just to remove the skin and impart a hint of orange peel. My instincts were right though. No poaching. In a quick minute they went from tart to Angelcot sauce. I barely had to stir them to have a luscious Angelcot Coulis. (Good for over the tart or over Vanilla Ice Cream.) Ah!

So with the remainder of my Angelcots, I went for a very simple compilation tart. It's fairly easy. Try it.

Angelcot Tart 
Printable Recipe

1 sheet frozen puffed pastry
1 cup Creme Fraiche
6 Angelcots, delicately peeled
Angelcot Coulis

1) Defrost the puffed pastry. And heat the oven as directed.

2) Trim the edges of the dough 1/2" and stack it along the side edges to make a border (you'll use this for lots of summer fruit tarts).

3) Give the edges a quick egg wash (ez: one egg & 1 Tablespoon of water, whisked)

4) Bake the pastry.

5) When it cools, brush the Creme Fraiche (mixed with 1 Tablespoon of superfine sugar) onto the the pastry bed. You can also use a thick greek vanilla yogurt or pastry cream. Pastry cream is my favorite, but this is a quick compilation and there will be another tart.

6) Cool covered in the fridge while you peel the Angelcots. (I use a tomato peeler like these - be careful.)

7) Cut the fruit into sixths and layer them as you like. They'd also be great in quarters or halves.

8) I used the coulis so no apricot jelly for me, but my French pastry counterparts will always brush fruit gel over any fruit pastry. Not this time, but if you try other fruit and want the finished, less rustic look, follow the recipe below.

And, enjoy.

Fruit Gel to Finish
Cup apricot preserves
2 Tablespoons water or liqueur like Grand Mariner
Heat and push through a stainer to remove fruit particles.

Blush over when slightly warm and allow to set. Fruit will hold it's freshness and shine beautifully.

Now, go buy some Angelcots.

My box is empty.